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The anniversaries of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

 
 
Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2005 11:06 am
er, C.I. I think that I told au that. <smile>

Look, folks. We all respect and love our country, but that doesn't mean that we are blind to her faults. When it comes to the military, they have one thing in mind and that is to WIN. In that respect, they become a government within a government, but I am still with Yit. there was no need for the Nagasaki bomb. We had made our point with the Abomb!
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old europe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2005 12:39 pm
au1929 wrote:
I can think of many things that should never have been but are. In any event I am greatful that we the US developed it and the Germans who tried did not. Can you imagine how much worse the outcome would have been if the Germans and Hitler had won the race.


Just wanted to note that, as far as we know today, the Germans did not try to develop the a-bomb. It is true that Germany still had some brilliant scientists and it is true that in respect to nuclear science, Germany and the United States where at the same level at one point.

Nevertheless, the assessment of the situation by scientists both in the States and in Germany was that while it was possible to design and construct a nuclear bomb, it would take an enormous effort to actually build one.

From that, Hitler apparently drew the conclusion that it would be impossible to build and use an atomic bomb during the ongoing war. Of course he was very interested in the research results but thought that an actual bomb wouldn't become available for a long time until after Germany would have won the war.

Therefore he left the nuclear research program to the civilian authorities (which were, of course, part of the Nazi state as well) with just some minor support from the military (like occupation of a D2O production facility in Norway).
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oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 03:14 am
Letty wrote:
Not on PEOPLE it hadn't, oralloy, and that's why I say that Nagasaki was not unnecessary.


There was no reason to test it on people.

The military of course always takes readings when a weapon is first used in combat, but they already knew exactly what the explosion would do to people.


The lack of necessity is only apparent from hindsight. At the time the bomb was dropped, Japan's government was still deadlocked over surrender terms, with nothing to say when they would break their deadlock and try to surrender (much less surrender on our terms).

The order given to the military was to simply drop each bomb as it became ready for use, and the order was not changed until the government of Japan started sending us surrender offers.
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oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 03:40 am
Acquiunk wrote:
oralloy wrote:
The military had simply been given orders to drop each bomb as it became available,


Here is the key "as it becam available" . Manufacturing fissionable material is complicated and slow, more so with the technology available in 1945

In 1945 the US had enough fissionable material for three bombs. One, plutonium, was tested in July 1945. That left enough material for two bombs, one uranium and one plutonium,


Acquiunk wrote:
Once those two bombs were dropped the US was out of bomb material and would not have sufficient material to make more until October 1945 at the earliest. In other words the US had no follow up for at least 3 months.


You should take a look as section 8.1.5 here:
www.nuclearweaponarchive.org/Nwfaq/Nfaq8.html#nfaq8.1.5


Our wartime production was three bombs a month, rising to 7+ bombs a month in December.

The third bomb was nearly ready to be dropped on Tokyo. Implosion assemblies were already waiting on Tinian, and the next plutonium core was going out the door (literally) on August 11 when we heard that Japan was finally offering to surrender (unacceptable though the first offer was).

Truman responded to the first surrender attempt by ordering a halt to the A-bombing, and the military ordered that shipment of the core be halted. It was retrieved before it left the parking lot.

Had it been shipped, the bomb would have been ready to use around August 17-18.

On August 14, Truman grew impatient and ordered that the core be shipped out, for use on Tokyo around August 20-21. But a couple hours later we received their unconditional surrender and shipment was halted again. This time the core made it to an airbase on the coast of California before it was recalled.



Acquiunk wrote:
It did not have an adequate bomb design, the plutonium bomb was so large the B29 could barely get off the ground.


The bombs were certainly not up to modern standards, but they were workable.



Acquiunk wrote:
Both had to be armed manually while in the air,


In flight insertion had not yet been developed, so the implosion bombs were more or less live before takeoff.

If the plane had crashed with a severe impact, an implosion bomb would have exploded with a fizzle.



Acquiunk wrote:
The dropping of those two bombs was a test,


It is true that the military always tries to take careful readings of the results when a weapon is first used in combat, but the reason the weapons are actually used in combat is the fact that we are at war against an enemy.
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oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 03:46 am
sumac wrote:
Interesting discussion. Watched a review of those events on Lehrer's News Hour last night. On that segment it was stated that the first bomb was dropped only after communication to Japan threatening destruction unless they surrendered brought no response.


Actually, Japan responded. The prime minister publicly responded to our generous offer of surrender terms by stating that they would "ignore it with contempt".



sumac wrote:
The second bomb was purported to be dropped after a similar communication was also met with silence by the Japanese government. Surely, by then, there could have been little doubt as to the meaning of the word 'destruction'.


I don't think there was much in the way of communication between the two A-bombs.



sumac wrote:
I would also hazard a guess that the Japanese knew what destruction would mean before the first bomb was dropped also. There had to be a modicum of intelligence in the scientific community.


They knew what A-bombs were, but they didn't know that we were threatening them with A-bombs until after Hiroshima.
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oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 03:52 am
cicerone imposter wrote:
yitail, Hindesight is almost always 20/20. At the time, Truman and the military brass decided on Nagasaki as the second target. You make a good point, but again, hindesight can be seen more clearly in the light of day - and not in the middle of a war that has already had a high degree of casualties on both sides.


Nagasaki was an alternate.

The target they wanted to destroy with the second bomb was Kokura Arsenal.

Minutes of the second meeting of the Target Committee - Los Alamos, May 10-11, 1945

Official Bombing Order, July 25, 1945
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 07:46 am
oralloy wrote:
You should take a look as section 8.1.5 here:
www.nuclearweaponarchive.org/Nwfaq/Nfaq8.html#nfaq8.1.5


Our wartime production was three bombs a month, rising to 7+ bombs a month in December.

The third bomb was nearly ready to be dropped on Tokyo. Implosion assemblies were already waiting on Tinian, and the next plutonium core was going out the door (literally) on August 11 when we heard that Japan was finally offering to surrender (unacceptable though the first offer was).


thanks for this information i was unfamiliar with. whether you intended to or not, it bolsters my contention that the second bomb should have been dropped on an uninhabited area, with a warning that the next bomb would target a population center.
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Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 09:11 am
Oralloy

From your referenced sites

The date that a third weapon could have been used against Japan was no later than August 20. The core was prepared by August 13, and Fat Man assemblies were already on Tinian Island. It would have required less than a week to ship the core and prepare a bomb for combat.

By mid 1945 the production of atomic weapons was a problem for industrial engineering rather than scientific research, although scientific work continued - primarily toward improving the bomb designs.

The three reactors (B and D which went started up for production in December 1944, and F which started up February 1945) at Hanford had a combined design thermal output of 750 megawatts and were theoretically capable of producing 19.4 kg of plutonium a month (6.5 kg/reactor), enough for over 3 Fat Man bombs.

Monthly or annual production figures are unavailable for 1945 and 1946,

but by the end of FY 1947 (30 June 1947) 493 kg of plutonium had been produced. Neglecting the startup month of each reactor, this indicates an average plutonium production 5.6 kg/reactor even though they were operated at reduced power or even shut down intermittently beginning in 1946.



A very interesting and potentially informative site. However I have two problems with it

1) The author does not reference his statements, which are presented as drawn from available documents and archives.

2) The main menu lists a bibliography but it is not available on line.

A third observation, which I have no means of evaluating:


If the "theoretical" production capabilities in 1945, beginning in February, was sufficient for three bombs a month, why was there not sufficient material on hand for 15 bombs by August 1945?

The author of the site has a point of view, "anti nuclear" which is commendable and is similar to my own. But I question the degree to which his views have colored his presentation of the material


Author of site: Carey Sublette

Home Page address
http://www.nuclearweaponarchive.org/
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 10:24 am
Acquiunk wrote:
The author does not reference his statements, which are presented as drawn from available documents and archives.


i wondered about this myself, and was remiss not to alude to it.
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BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 10:53 am
BBB
bm
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Aug, 2005 05:18 pm
I will add Nagasaki to the title. It should not be over-looked.

BBC remembers Nagasaki
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oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Aug, 2005 10:55 pm
Acquiunk wrote:
Oralloy

From your referenced sites

The date that a third weapon could have been used against Japan was no later than August 20. The core was prepared by August 13, and Fat Man assemblies were already on Tinian Island. It would have required less than a week to ship the core and prepare a bomb for combat.


The original projected date was August 20-21, but they got ahead of schedule by three days, so were planning on August 17-18.

Then Japan started making surrender offers, and Truman halted the A-bombing because he didn't want to nuke them so soon after they had made a surrender offer. The military then also decided to halt shipment of the core, just as it was leaving Los Alamos.

On August 14, when Truman ordered A-bombings to resume and ordered the core to be shipped, the delay had put them back on their original schedule for August 20-21.



Acquiunk wrote:
A very interesting and potentially informative site. However I have two problems with it

1) The author does not reference his statements, which are presented as drawn from available documents and archives.

2) The main menu lists a bibliography but it is not available on line.


You could email him, or ask a question on the USENET group "alt.war.nuclear", which he would see.



Acquiunk wrote:
A third observation, which I have no means of evaluating:


If the "theoretical" production capabilities in 1945, beginning in February, was sufficient for three bombs a month, why was there not sufficient material on hand for 15 bombs by August 1945?


The three bombs a month was starting in August (or the last third of July, if you count the Trinity test).

The estimate of three bombs a month, rising to 7+ bombs a month in December, wasn't made by Carey Sublette.

That was an estimate the scientists gave to the government at the time.

They also said there would be 7 bombs ready by November 1st for use against the Japanese defenders of southern Kyushu if we continued our plans to begin the invasion there. I don't know if that includes the last bomb of August, or not.



I think Carey estimates that they would have begun producing more than 3 a month well before December.
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oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Aug, 2005 11:01 pm
yitwail wrote:
oralloy wrote:
You should take a look as section 8.1.5 here:
www.nuclearweaponarchive.org/Nwfaq/Nfaq8.html#nfaq8.1.5


Our wartime production was three bombs a month, rising to 7+ bombs a month in December.

The third bomb was nearly ready to be dropped on Tokyo. Implosion assemblies were already waiting on Tinian, and the next plutonium core was going out the door (literally) on August 11 when we heard that Japan was finally offering to surrender (unacceptable though the first offer was).


thanks for this information i was unfamiliar with. whether you intended to or not, it bolsters my contention that the second bomb should have been dropped on an uninhabited area, with a warning that the next bomb would target a population center.


You're welcome.

Most people who favor the demonstration idea wanted the demonstration to come before the first bomb.

At any rate, Truman's only concern was shocking the Japanese. He didn't care about being gentle with them until they started sending surrender offers.
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littlefairyfromnam
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Oct, 2005 08:59 am
You all seem to be forgetting about the Soviets. Stalin was invited to the Trinity test for a reason.
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Jim
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Nov, 2005 11:52 am
We were home on vacation visiting my parents on the 50th anniversary of the bombing. This same debate was on a talk radio station we were listening to, and I thought my father was going to blow a gasket.

From the time my father joined his squadron in '43 until early '45 they were land based. Then in early '45 they were assigned to the carrier Saidor for training in preparation for the invasion of Japan. My father told me that every single pilot in the squadron knew he was going to die in the invasion, but Harry Truman gave them all their lives back when he dropped the bombs.
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oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Nov, 2005 10:43 pm
littlefairyfromnam wrote:
You all seem to be forgetting about the Soviets.


That is reasonable if the subject is the motive for dropping the bomb, because the decision to drop the bomb was based solely on concerns about the Japanese.



littlefairyfromnam wrote:
Stalin was invited to the Trinity test for a reason.


Stalin was informed of the Trinity test after the fact, not invited to it.

The reason Truman told Stalin was because he hoped it would make Stalin hurry up and get into the Pacific war.

Some other US officials hoped that our possession of the bomb would make the Soviets more manageable, but that was not the reason that they decided to use it against Japan, and that was not Truman's own mindset at the time of the bombing.
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